Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Clubs and Organizations in Erie County

For better or worse, social clubs and community organizations are not as popular as they once were. With the advent of movies, television, the Internet, the automobile, and many other developments in technology and culture, clubs and organizations play a smaller role in the community than they did, say, in 1897, when the Daughters of the American Revolution, Martha Pitkin Chapter, was founded in Sandusky. (An excerpt from the D.A.R. secretary's book is shown above.) In the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century, the role of clubs and organizations in the community was dominant. For an analysis of this development in society, you might want to read Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone (in our library collection at 306.0973 PU) -- but don't take my world for it, since I haven't read the book yet.

It does seem clear, however, that studying the history of local clubs and organizations will help you understand the culture and society from which they come (or at least that portion of society represented by the members of that particular club). The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center holds records and documents from several local clubs and service organizations, including: the Daughters of the American Revolution, Martha Pitkin Chapter; the Erie County Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Sandusky Federation of Women's Clubs; the Art Study Club; the Men's Literary Club; the Sunyendeand Club; the Nineteenth Century Club; the Sandusky Concert Association; and others. Thanks to the help of our summer archives intern, we have new and updated finding aids describing many of these documents and collections, for those interested in researching this aspect of our history.

For those of you involved in a local organization or who owns the records of local clubs from the past, we encourage you to consider depositing those records with the Archives Research Center, to preserve these documents for future generations. We will be glad to explain how we will store and record your donation in the library as a record of our community. For more information, call (419-625-3834) or email the Archives Librarian.

The photo above is of a costume party given by the Art Study Club (probably circa 1920), where guests came dressed as famous literary characters. (From the Library's historic photo collection -- CLUB-047.)

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